While the thought of new technology is exciting for some, it takes some time and proven results for others to get behind adopting a change in one’s workflow. This can be explained in detail in the Diffusion of Innovation...
While the thought of new technology is exciting for some, it takes some time and proven results for others to get behind adopting a change in one’s workflow. This can be explained in detail in the Diffusion of Innovation...
For NEI General Contracting, Remote Payroll has changed how the company processes payroll—and has cut the amount of time in half.
Construction is the third most common industry hit by ransomware attacks. In all, it made up 13.2% of all ransomware attacks in North America.
The construction industry is a technology laggard, but some experts see new interest in innovations. Owners are realizing that integrating technology increases construction efficiency.
The construction industry is a notorious laggard when it comes to adopting new technologies. HCSS recommends a five-part method for achieving employee buy-in.
The Department of Defense, working with the private sector, is building three barracks using 3D printing technology. The project, which is going to be the largest of its kind in the Americas, is scheduled to be finished in 10 months.
Construction in the metaverse and virtual reality excites gamers; some companies say today's VR users represent tomorrow's engineers.
Concrete takes first place as the world’s most commonly used construction material. Some criticize concrete’s structural soundness. A group of civil engineers offers Graphene as a superior solution to concrete.
Despite the recent growth of construction jobs, a labor shortage remains, especially with small contractors and businesses. In September, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that 51% of small business owners couldn't fill job openings, more than double the 22% historical average.
Businesses continue to use spreadsheets as practical tools. Most agree that Excel offers a robust solution. But an article this week in Construction Dive poses that too many spreadsheets and not enough automation cause difficulty for construction project managers. In addition, project managers do more business these days on smartphones and tablets. Excel doesn't offer the simplicity needed in this business environment.
Anyone who has spent time on a construction job knows that building generates waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2018 figures, more than 600 million tons of construction waste builds up per year; that's twice as much as all the municipal waste collected from homes and businesses countrywide.
Despite being one of the largest sectors of the global economy, the construction industry is notoriously slow to adopt new technologies; this leads to shortfalls in productivity. According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, "Reinventing Construction: A route to higher productivity," labor productivity across all sectors has grown by 2.8% in the last 20 years, but construction productivity has only increased by 1%.
Although many believe plastic's recyclable properties reduce pollution and alleviate the trash crisis, only 9% of the 42 million tons of plastic used in America each year recycles. Some blame a deficiency in recycling infrastructure. The truth is, recycling facilities can't reclaim most plastics—even if fabricators print that triangular symbol on the bottom.
Hausbots offers a new tool that must be seen to be believed:a robot that looks similar to a small four-wheeled car with two large vents onthe top. The device can drive straight up walls.
Artificial intelligence impacts peoples’ lives across all sectors; they can ask Siri or Alexa a question, use a smart thermostat, or receive recommendations from Netflix. The construction industry also benefits from AI. And AI in construction goes much further than autonomous vehicles.
Science fiction literature historically draws on metaverse concepts. Recent innovations, such as Facebook’s name change to Meta and the announcement of their metaverse, have inspired architects to build new creations—virtually.
The construction industry has a reputation for late adoption of new technology. Still, a new survey from Dodge Construction Network, a Dodge Data and Analytics subsidiary, says that 95% of office and field workers want new digital tools. In another question, 95% of respondents said that such tools would streamline their work.
For years, construction technology companies have experimented with building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Mitrex Integrated Solar Technology says this new tech can go mainstream.
West African builders found promise in an ancient material after decades of neglect. Long gone builders used mud bricks in Burkina Faso and Morocco. Modernization replaced these bricks with concrete. Now, architects seek to return these cities to their roots.
On the southern tip of Staten Island, a new project aims to fight rising sea levels and install anti-flooding structures. In September of this year, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery began work on what they’re calling “Living Barriers,” breakwaters made up of eight massive rock piles.
For architect Earl Forlales, living in a bamboo house is second nature. "Filipinos have been using bamboo (for housing) even before colonial times, for thousands of years," he says.
Black and Veatch uses Honda’s autonomous work vehicles (AWVs) at a job site in New Mexico to test their effectiveness. The company pushes the vehicles by towing and moving construction materials and other supplies. Other sites have tried the AWV; but Black and Veatch plans to work Honda’s vehicles harder and longer than at any other site.
Flexbase, a construction technology company, plans to offer something new: a particular credit card for the construction industry. The card provides up to 60 days of interest-free financing.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission greenlit the largest wind farm in the United States. Project owners predict Dominion Energy’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) power generator to produce 2.6 GW. The contract includes the largest submarine cable ever awarded in the United States (Dominion Energy’s massive undersea power cables differ from longer undersea cables, including communications cables between California and Singapore).
Mosaic Building Group, a Phoenix-based construction tech startup, has raised an additional $44 million in Series B funding, bringing their total funding to $68.75 million. Mosaic designed its software to manage construction infrastructure in a way that will allow real estate developers to focus on things like land acquisition, sales, and architecture. Ultimately, Mosaic says, their goal is to make residential construction more scalable.
A 10,000-mile-long subsea fiber optic cable will connect the city of Eureka, California, in Humboldt County, to Singapore; this turns the county into a central communications hub that will eventually see two more massive projects.
Within the United States, investment in construction technology sits at $2.1 billion as of October 2021; this more than doubles funding at the same time last year.
The Denver International Airport, which has a sincere commitment to sustainability, will begin constructing two large solar panel farms on airport property. Designers estimate that the solar farm will generate enough energy to power 6,000 Denver homes year-round.
Most think of modular home development as high production of low-cost structures. But a report in The Real Deal cites a movement toward high-end customers in this space. Modular construction entices luxury buyers with quick turnaround times.
Some scientists speculate that concrete production contributes to 6% of the world’s greenhouse gasses. Switzerland intends to improve those numbers with revolutionary concrete creation techniques.
On the lighter side of construction, Budimex and refiner Lodos, a construction firm out of Poland, hit the headlines by introducing a new street construction product with one big design difference: the asphalt smells like flowers.
The green startup Nexii, based out of Pittsburgh, PA, also known as the "Steel City," offers an environmentally friendly concrete product that they say will be better than steel in some applications.
Tech giant Apple intends to construct a new campus complex in San Jose that will cover 85 acres and include their north office. The building site contains a semi-permanent homeless encampment currently. Apple pledged to help the city deal with its homeless population.
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in the Senate last week includes an investment in construction technology of $100 million spread over five years. The government intends to focus the funds on digital construction technologies such as BIM, 3D modeling software, and digital project management.
While architecture has always been built to resemble the natural world, biometric architecture, an emerging field in the industry, is looking to the way living flora and fauna thrive as a way to enhance construction. The architects in this field look at everything from mollusks to fungus for better ways to build.
The commercial real estate industry focuses on energy efficiency and sustainability. For example, a recent report shows that the smart building automation software and systems industry reached $20.5 billion in North America. Still, the focus is on the operational phase of the building’s life cycle, not the construction phase.
The U.S. Department of Energy launched a new initiative on July 7th that invests $6 million into adopting three proven nuclear power plant technologies. By forming a partnership with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, they hope to decrease costs by 10%.
Construction companies understand their industry’s tendency to adopt new tech at a snail’s pace; this makes construction a major target for new tech startups, but there’s a catch.
Every week, it seems like a new construction technology claims to revolutionize the industry. But are these technologies right for you, and will they succeed as the claimed magic bullets that completely revamp your workflow? Here are five questions to ask:
The University of Manchester and the British firm Nationwide Engineering plans to launch a new product: Concretene. Some consider it a gamechanger in concrete. Product creators tested Concretene on the construction of a gym floor in Amesbury, Wiltshire. Builders used 30% less material than standard concrete, without the need for steel reinforcement. Concretene creators claim that their product could save as much as 10-20% in costs.
As the founders of Build Change claim, it’s not the earthquake that kills people; it’s the collapse of poorly built structures. With the release of their new Intelligence Supervision Assistant for Construction app, they hope to save lives with open-source artificial intelligence.
Builders chatter about modular construction, particularly over the past few years. Even Warren Buffet entered the market with an ambitious venture into the technology. A new report projects modular construction to be worth $114 billion by 2028.
ABB, the Switzerland-based engineering group behind much of the world's automotive factories' robotic assembly lines, holds that the post-pandemic state of mass construction and labor shortage indicates a prime time to integrate robotics into the process.
The Swiss discovered a new way to get energy out of their dams, not through hydroelectric power. Axpo, a Switzerland-based company, partnered with power provider IWB, to use the broad, curved wall of the dam as a vertical surface for solar panels. The project's complexity lies in installing the panels 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) above sea level in the Alps.
Adroit Market Research announced that they expect the construction plastics market to reach $140.7 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.67%. Polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, polyethylene, polyurethanes, and other materials comprise the construction plastics market. Builders use these materials for various purposes, including roofing, walls and coverings, pipes and ducts, and windows.
Danny Forster Architecture, a New York firm, has partnered with MiTek Inc, a company owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, to create the Modular Activation Platform (MAP); they intend to solve some of the main problems with modular construction.
On April 25th, 2021, a construction team led by Bechtel, an engineering and construction firm, added a massive cooling tank to Plant Vogtle Unit 4. This is one of only two nuclear power plants currently under construction in the United States.
Carnegie Mellon University's professors Pingbo Tang and Burcu Akinci lead a team to design the National Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Construction. The pair currently work with other researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and over 40 industry partners.
Curri, a new company referred to as the “Uber of Construction,” gains investors as it seeks to disrupt a stagnant distribution model.
As part of a nuclear project out of Scotland, engineers adopt an innovative new concrete building tool they plan to use in floors, walls, and ceilings, all without rebar. Builders expect Steel Bricks, part of GE Hitachi’s (GEH’s) BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) plant, to reduce the required labor significantly.
Early in 2021, a mansion in Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach, marketed as a solar-powered home, sold for $1525 million. The 112 solar panels on the roof generate enough power to operate the house for weeks or even months completely off-grid.
Many Hong Kong residents cite construction site pollution—dust, smell, noise, and heat—as "unbearable," especially in the hot and humid summer months.
Last year’s Lockdown and quarantine translated into a spike in home renovations, both in DIY projects and professionally done remodels. Many homeowners integrated green-home concepts into their plans: between March 2020 and March 2021, Google searches for “green home renovations” increased 112%. ConstructionGlobal analyzed Google search volumes to scrutinize the most significant trends.
When working with reinforced concrete, there will always be the “rodbusters”, a highly skilled, yet underappreciated group of men and women who perform the tedious and backbreaking task of tying the rebar together every time they cross, either with wire or plastic. For a large project, like a bridge, this can mean many thousands of ties—all done manually. It is difficult, repetitive work that must be done, but often leads to injuries, particularly repetitive-motion injuries or back problems.
This week, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, designating thirteen upcoming projects as "Infrastructure Gamechangers." These game-changers earned their status due to their transformative innovations in the way engineers plan, build, and adapt to infrastructure needs.
Three recent projects show innovation in 3D printed building. The first comes from Austin, TX, where the public can purchase the first American 3D printed homes. A development project in the California desert comes in second, where builders have announced the first 3D printed housing community. A Tennessee credit union that features a 3D printed façade takes the third spot.
With more companies and countries getting a toe-hold into space, it's only natural that a massive construction project intends to make big profits from future tourist space travel.
In her book, Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating (2019), Robyn Shotwell Metcalfe refers to the paradox of catching fish in New England, exported them to Japan, then shipping them back as sushi; this reveals a large and complex network, invisible to those who order Japanese takeout.
Around the world we have seen rising temperatures, growing to record numbers nearly every year of the last decade, and it’s got some entrepreneurs in India thinking: could we use ancient cooling techniques in modern structures?
Purdue University presented a new robot at the 2021 Technology Showcase: The State of Innovation. The new design integrates BIM (building information modeling) and construction robotics in a new way to reduce the time it takes to complete basic tasks and to make up for labor shortages.
Aside from Amazon’s other major news, including Jeff Bezos’s decision to step down as CEO, the online behemoth made waves in the architecture community on Feb 2nd when it unveiled plans for an Arlington, Virginia office complex.
The Federal Railroad Administration released information about the Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev Project (SCMAGLEV), a future endeavor to build a Maglev train between Washington D.C. and Baltimore. The train would speed passengers between the two cities in as little as eight minutes.
In recent years, the construction industry has migrated toward modular construction. COVID-19 has escalated this shift. The data indicates an increase in worker safety for companies who use this type of construction.
An entirely different kind of construction project is just getting underway in the small town of Saranac Lake, NY. On January 28, 2021, volunteers began cutting more than 256 large blocks of ice from the lake in a ten-day-long project to build a Winter Carnival Ice Palace.
Forbes recently interviewed several major architecture firms to discover what these men and women envision for the future of the post-COVID-19 hospitality industry. Answers to the question varied, but all had a few things in common: more social distance, less contact, and more overt cleanliness. While it might not seem shocking, the specifics of their visions are interesting.
Following the Carbon Free Boston report in 2019, city officials are making carbon-neutral plans by 2050. Emissions from buildings account for more than 70% of the city’s emissions, Boston feels it’s time to clear the air.
Despite being behind the curve for adopting new technology, the construction industry is quickly trying to catch up with the rest of business as it expands into the digital realm. In just the last decade, construction has seen the advent of 3D modeling and realistic architectural visualization software, the rise of virtual reality and augmented reality on a massive scale, 3D printing, automation, machine learning, BIM and the Internet of Things (IoT). These things haven’t always been greeted warmly by either workers or company owners, but they are making an inexorable creep into the everyday lives of those in the construction world.
According to the Financial Times, the world of game design—referring specifically to video games—is taking a page from construction and architecture. It continues to expand and become more lifelike. It all comes down to how space is used, and then extrapolating from there into questions like: will the doors open in or out? Is there enough light? Where will people gather?
The publication Arch Daily recently published an op-ed questioning the long-held belief that using wood in construction is a more sustainable, more environmentally-friendly method. Wood is a renewable resource, which other materials, like steel and concrete, are not.
Branch Technology announced that it had closed deals raising $11 million in funding, bringing the tech startup’s total financing to $22 million. The firm uses that money to construct the largest fleet of 3D printers used in the construction industry.
Whether we’re looking at undersea tunnels, or bridges, or communication cables on the seafloor, human-made structures are encroaching on the seas and oceans at an ever-increasing rate. A recent study from Nature Sustainability has estimated that humankind has now built over 32,000 square kilometers or 12,000 square miles.
Climate change poses a threat that governments and city planners are starting to take seriously: according to a 2019 study, the global sea level could rise anywhere from two to seven feet by 2100. At today's population levels, that would displace more than 190 million people, a number that will only go up. "If our findings stand, coastal communities worldwide must prepare themselves for much more difficult futures than may be currently anticipated," the study warned.
Two pieces of art have emerged simultaneously, spurring Japanese national interest in reconstructing that nation’s largest wooden castle, which was destroyed in a fire 360 years ago.
Advances in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are improving accuracy, efficiency and safety at job sites. Where VR creates a fully immersive experience, AR takes the existing world and enhances it. Using both of these technologies, which are all part of the more extensive building information modeling (BIM) movement, construction companies can save time, reduce errors, and ultimately save money.
Construction is one of the largest industries in the world economy, making up 13% of the world’s GDP. Yet, construction is widely recognized as much slower than other sectors in adopting new technology. And while many new technologies appear in the industry, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics, there has been a reluctance to use these tools.
New artificial intelligence technologies at use in Europe can seamlessly track a project’s progress and see if it is falling behind schedule.
Plastic accounts for 19 percent of all municipal waste and is one of the chief environmental threats in the waste stream. Efforts to make plastic more reusable have been ongoing for decades, and many construction projects have found innovative ways to do so. The newest idea is to include used plastics in the makeup of asphalt.
Jeffrey Mansfield, a design director who was born Deaf, is keenly aware of how some architecture serves to set the disabled free and some stifles and traps them. Influencing work at the MASS Design Group put him on course to enter a multi-year course of research exploring how deafness has shaped space (or been shaped by it). For his work, he was recently awarded the Disability Futures Fellowship from the Ford Foundation.
The Tiny House Movement has been going for more than a decade. Recent world events have motivated some architects, builders and homeowners to build small, and a new competition is inviting any and all designers to make their mark.
On October 1, 2020 construction work began on a project that will be ten years in the making: a giant windfarm located offshore of Norway, at Kværner Stord. The project will build eleven floating concrete hulls that will house the turbines for a wind farm known as Hywind Tampen.
In a year that has been fraught with wildfires burning across the west, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres, a new app is being piloted in Arizona to locate the source of fires by mapping hundreds of construction sites.
Some cultures have architectural traditions that go back millennia (the first known architect in the world was Imhotep, who lived in Egypt in the 27th Century BC). It may be surprising to learn that China, which has a strong tradition of magnificent buildings, did not build with single architects or masterminds until the Ming Dynasty (roughly 1350-1650 AD). Before that, structures were created by a collective of builders and designers. This means that even the famed Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China were not overseen by a single master planner, but separated into small projects collaborated upon by teams of craftsmen.
According to Dodge Data and Analytics, nonresidential construction starts fell by 19% in the first five months of the year. In places where lockdowns were mandated, including construction jobs, work levels dropped as much as 80%. The Dodge study indicated that the delays were due to labor shortage, new safety procedures, and lack of materials and equipment due to transportation disruptions.
Core, a new app and online site, is designed to connect construction laborers with contractors and builders in need of workers. It has gotten the eye of several influential Silicon Valley investors.
Building Information Modeling was a new technology a few years ago that is now a universally accepted staple of the industry. It allows all the stakeholders in a project, from builders and architects to accounts and owners, to look at the process in real-time to see completed work and the challenges looming ahead.
The construction world has been slow to adapt to new technology but in recent years the boundaries of what is possible continue to be pushed. The problem, experts say, is finding people who are skilled in both the tech world and the construction world. It’s a rare skill set, but it’s becoming increasingly in demand as everything from BIM to robotics to virtual reality devices are pounding on the door of the industry.
Long a dream of those who are choosing to live and build off the grid, a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell is now available to supply heat and power. The first major introduction of the new technology is being implemented in the United Kingdom, but will have far reaching effects across the globe.
Calling to mind images from The Abyss or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, undersea adventurer Fabien Cousteau (son of legendary Jacques Cousteau) is planning the Proteus, the first undersea research station to be built in 34 years. Jacques Cousteau, who once lived in an undersea research station as an “oceanaut” for 30 days, dreamed of a day when living and studying under the waves would become commonplace. And new plans may be taking us one step closer to that dream.
Icon, a startup based in Austin, Texas, made news (and an appearance in this blog) last year when it became the first company in the world to 3-D print an entire neighborhood. The project took place in Mexico, creating small two-room homes as part of an affordable housing effort to help the homeless. The $35 million experiment was such a success that the company has raised a further $44 million in funding to bring their work to America.
In an effort to produce a more carbon-friendly concrete material, Texas A&M University has developed a 3D printing technology that not only has implications for construction here and now, but is thought to be one of the most viable ways to implement construction on Mars.
Tesla, the company behind the electric cars and the SpaceX launch vehicle that safely sent astronauts to the International Space Station and brought them back safely to earth, is now turning its eye onto the most substantial ever energy storage system, in Moss Landing, California.
Buildots, a new technology firm, eponymously named after the new invention they’ve created, announced this week that it has raised $16 million in funding.
Gaurav Sant, a professor at UCLA and director of UCLA’s Institute for Carbon Management, is overseeing a project to convert carbon dioxide emissions into building materials. The project just received a $2 million, two-year grant from the US Department of Energy.
The new Canadian company Nexii has created a material that is 33% more energy efficient than concrete and that allows for rapid construction of buildings—including small, medium, and large structures. Based in British Columbia, the company says its new building material, combined with an improved design and assembly process, allows for buildings that are cost-efficient, durable and even disaster-resistant.
According to business consultancy group McKinsey & Co, the construction industry will radically change as it undergoes nine shifts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The report, The Next Normal of Construction, explains how “disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem.”
A 2018 study from Fails Management Institute (FMI), a management consultancy group, reported that 55% of engineering and construction firms were “actively seeking new technology solutions.” But at the same time, a 2019 study from Dodge Data and Analytics found that 90% of the contractors surveyed “do not specifically budget for innovation.”
Australian software company Atlassian is putting its new headquarters in a mass timber and steel 40-story building, which will be the world’s tallest “hybrid tower.”